Military memoirs abound, but few prove to be trustworthy accounts free of spin, bravura, or military glitter. John Merson’s War Lessons takes a rare reflective approach to this pressing issue of our time. In vivid, unadorned prose, he interweaves his own experiences in war with thoughtful assessments of how to prevent it. He highlights the daily experience of combat from the perspective of both the foot soldier and the villager in whose home the war is being fought. When he leaves Vietnam, Merson begins an odyssey that brings him back eight times. The book limns this process as a poignant personal voyage and the author struggles to understand why young people are drawn to war, how it changes those who fight it, why its destructive effects persist on both sides, how former enemies reconcile, and how soldiers wanted to be treated and remembered by the citizens who send them to war. War Lessons also offers hope, suggesting strategies for young people to help the world reclaim its humanity through healing actions such as participating in UN peacekeeping programs, working to prosecute war crimes, and protecting refugees.